THE NEWSDESK: Another PR disaster as May soldiers on

First published in Columnists South Wales Argus: Photograph of the Author by

So we have to call in an extra 3,500 troops to make up for the shortfall in security staff at the Olympics – an announcement made within a week of the government’s decision to slash Army numbers.

The total number of military personnel, from three services and including reservists, contributing to games security will now be 17,000.

Troops will carry out general security on venue gates and bag checks. Some 5,000 personnel will be in specialist roles, such as bomb disposal squads, special forces and the London missile sites, with a further 1,000 involved in logistical support.

Home Secretary Theresa May said the lack of trained G4S security staff was only discovered last Wednesday, 16 days before the games begin.

Labour MP Keith Vaz was quick to jump on the issue, telling the House of Commons: “G4S has let the country down and we have literally had to send in the troops.”

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said the scale of the problem should have been recognised sooner.

She welcomed the decision to bring in extra troops but continued: “I have to say to her this really looks like another huge Home Office shambles.”

Mrs May said: “I can confirm to the House that there remains no specific security threat to the games and the threat level remains unchanged.

“And let me reiterate that there is no question of Olympic security being compromised.”

Mrs May said Britain had the “finest military personnel in the world”.

“They stand ready to do their duty whatever the nation may ask.

Our troops are highly skilled and highly trained and this task (the Olympics) is the most important facing our nation today,” she said.

Really, Mrs May, when they are still being maimed and killed in an increasingly dangerous Afghanistan?

Oh, engage brain.

Is anyone therefore surprised that service families have such little regard for your government’s arguments about service job losses and the merging of regiments, including the loss of 2 Royal Welsh?

The Coalition. Another week, another PR disaster.

Reminds me of that Cape Fearstyle episode of The Simpsons where Sideshow Bob gets stuck in a field stepping on rakes.

Downing Street said G4S’s inability to provide enough security for the Olympics was “unfortunate”.

In a statement, it warned the company should face consequences for its failure to fulfil its contract.

I wonder what this means for the Coalition’s bright idea of bringing in private security firms to other areas.

It is interesting to note that G4S was also one of four contractors bidding to take over some services for Surrey Police.

The force’s police authority voted last Thursday to suspend the plan.

It is now thinking of scrapping it entirely.


Mayor drives media mad

AS PR stunts go, the mayor of Triberg in the Black Forest, Gallus Strobel, right, has an, er, unusual way of getting his hometown on the map.

He has created parking spaces in the town’s car park with male and female symbols on them – with ‘easier’ parking spaces which are wider and well lit for women, and those that must be reversed into being signed for men.

He said that feedback had been mostly positive, but that there had been some “humourless reactions from the politically correct”.

But, it seems, he has achieved his aim of marketing his town by stirring up a driving war of the sexes.

He said: “The TV will come. I am happy... It’s been a great marketing gimmick.”

Next year? How about shops with women staff to help men find the things which are right in front of them?


Gouda clean fun here

ARGUS Towers loved the story of the Llandogo man Alwyn Thomas, who has penned a song to cheese.

Hours of good, clean fun here and on social media networks coming up with cheese-related song titles.

My favourite?

Nobody Does It Feta.

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